'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 2 February 2017

Review: This Is Banjo Paterson

Tania McCartney’s latest offering is a highly entertaining, educational resource, on the life of one of Australia’s most-loved poets, Banjo Paterson. She has built a deserving tribute to this poet’s life with a clever use of words.

The book’s tone is light and carefree, like a kite on a windy day. The text is free- flowing and always in sync with what is taking place on the page. The colourful characters: Banjo, a group of friends, and Banjo’s dog (who has a mind of his own, and expresses it freely), are also part of the lightness. The delightful addition of further humour through the thought and speech bubbles, gifted smiles and laughter to me, as they will to readers of all ages.

Christina Booth, an illustrator who always offers insight and an extended view in her translation, illuminates the text with her illustrations. Together, author and illustrator have created something brilliant for younger readers to enjoy and learn from. Themes of friendship, the importance of play, and the impressions the natural world leaves on people’s minds and hearts, are significant points throughout the book.

Detailed references for the images drawn from the National Library of Australia’s collection are noted as usual. These images show Banjo’s life from childhood onward. Verses from his poems adorn the last page. The stunning end pages covered in clouds refer back to something at the closing of the story that waits to be discovered by an observant eye.

Banjo was a multifaceted man; talented and intelligent. His heart though belonged to the bush. Regardless of the time he spent away from it, and all the experiences that influenced his life, it was animals and natural surroundings that were his life’s blood. Tania McCartney and Christina Booth have successfully demonstrated how Banjo’s relationship to the natural world inspired his writing more than any other form of education he received.

Title: This Is Banjo Paterson
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Christina Booth
Publisher: National Library Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 February 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780642278982
For ages: 4 +
Type: Australian Non Fiction